How To Get Flawless Skin: Korean Skin Care Routines & More

Last updated on : June 14 2021

Korean makeup regimes

Your Skin Matters

Your skin is the visible outer layer of your body. It is the organ that acts as the first line of defense for your immune system. Keeping it flawless and glowing as you age is attractive and a sign of good health. 

Our skin suffers from wear and tear of aging. It gets drier and thinner with wrinkles, large pores, age spots, and other concerns.

What you eat, hormones, sun exposure, stress, alcohol, and smoking affects your skin. You cannot put a stop to aging, but you can improve the radiance of your skin. Proper care and positive lifestyle changes will help too.  

In this article, we delve into the famous Korean skincare routine. We look at the lifestyle changes needed to keep your skin flawless and glowing. And we provide tips on choosing the right skincare creams and products for you.

Korean Skincare Routines

Women are in awe of the acne-free and flawless skin of Korean women. Their radiant, smooth, and even-toned complexions are picture-perfect.

Were they born beautiful, with clear and flawless skin? No, these women work hard for their manicured features. They do what it takes to protect and preserve their skin.

They also learn to take care of their skin from childhood. For Korean women, skincare is a vital investment, and they spend time and money pampering it.

They follow a multi-step regime. This regime includes an oil cleanse, foam cleanse, exfoliation, ampoule treatment, facial mask, and more.

Here is the process - throughout, try to use organic skincare products to avoid any damage caused by chemicals or harmful synthetic substances.

1. Double Cleanse

Most Korean women cleanse their face two times in one sitting. The phrase “double cleansing” describes this initial step.

The first step removes all traces of makeup, oil, and dirt with a liquid cleanser. Then a cleansing oil treatment eliminates bacteria and impurities from the face and neck. Lastly, a wash with warm water finishes. This entire process is the pre-cleanse routine.

The second step cleanses the face again. This time with a mild foaming cleanser applied in a soft circular motion, using fingertips to avoid rubbing the skin.

2. Facial Massage

After cleansing, Korean women apply a face massage. Facial massages boost blood circulation and give the skin a healthy glow.

To do this yourself, massage your face in the direction of the facial muscles. Start below the cheekbones and use the knuckles of the first two fingers to work your way upwards to the temple. Then massage the sides of the nose, your forehead and the edge of your face.

To finish, use your fingertips to massage your eyes to reduce puffiness.

When massaging, the trick is to press the knuckles and fingers as firmly as possible against the face. The oil keeps the pressure from pulling at your skin.

3. Exfoliation

Exfoliate when needed during the month to remove dead skin cells and excess oils on the skin. Concentrate on the t-zone and your cheeks and nose.

If your skin is oily, exfoliate every week to reduce build-up in your pores. Otherwise, complete the process at least two times a month. 

4. Toning

Exfoliating and cleansing make your skin absorbent and ready for toning.  

Using a cotton pad, apply toner on your face, neck, and décolletage to complete the cleansing of the skin at night. In the morning repeat to remove sebum produced during the night and to balance your skin's pH for the day. 

Toners help nourish and replenish the skin and reduce pore size. They refresh your skin and reset and preserve its pH balance.

Alternatively, Korean women have washed their faces with rice water for centuries. It's a natural moisturizer that helps brighten the skin, reduce dark circles, and lighten dark spots. For this treatment, let the rice soak in water for 10-15 minutes. Then use the milky water as a pseudo-toner.  

5. Essence & Ampoules

Koreans were first to use essences or concentrated serums on their skin, applying them to both their face and neck. Today this practice continues to be part of their beauty routine.


An essence is a nourishing liquid packed with nutrients for your skin. The nutrients include hyaluronic acid and glycerin that increase cell turnover and elasticity, revitalizing the skin.

Essences prep the skin to absorb moisture and are generally thicker than toners, but thinner than serums or ampoules. Essences can (and should) be used every night for optimal hydration. They are most helpful for those with dry, mature, or uneven skin.

Ampoules and Serums

For complicated skin, try applying a serum or ampoule treatment directly after your essence, and before your moisturizer. 

Serums and ampoules contain a thick liquid rich in vitamins and minerals to help target your skin concern. A single drop combats dull skin, dark spots, and sagging skin. These products do not contain emulsifiers or emollients (like cleansers and moisturizers do), allowing the active ingredients to get to your skin faster.

If layering different serums, apply lightest to thickest consistency.

6. Face Mask

The purpose of your mask depends on what your skin needs. Choose a hydrating mask or if needed one for brightening, packed with vitamin C, B, and other natural ingredients. 

You don't need to apply a mask every-night, twice a week should be good enough.

You can also swap a sheet mask for a serum or essence to cut time off your routine because they contain similar treatment products.

Natural Face masks

Koreans believe the most effective beauty secrets come from Mother Nature and prefer face masks made of natural ingredients. Fermented yeast, green tea, avocado, sea kelp, and snail mucin are products used. 

Fermented yeast is a fortified Vitamin B. It helps boost metabolism and maintain healthy skin. Green tea rejuvenates tired skin and maintains a natural glow. Sea kelp is rich in minerals and antioxidants that nourish the skin. Snail mucin helps regenerate skin cells with a healthy-looking complexion.

Sheet masks

Buying sheet masks in Korea is like shopping for Kleenex in the United States.

Hydration is the hallmark of this skincare regime. Sheet masks improve hydration by plumping the skin and reducing fine lines and come a close second to the eight glasses of water a day routine.

Sheet masks force antioxidants and vitamins to mingle with your skin making your skin brighter, softer, and hydrated. Done two times a week it is as simple as stick on-and-peel off.

7. Eye Cream

Eye cream helps prevent dark circles, wrinkles, and puffiness. Tap it around the eyes liberally instead of rubbing as this protects the skin better.

Koreans believe that the delicate eye area requires care. They keep it super moisturized by applying eye cream at night.

8. Face Cream & Moisturizer

By this point, a woman might feel like a six-tiered cake. However, our Korean women call it “a dewy look” because the skin shines like dew.

The final step in the skincare routine is a night cream. These contain fermented snow lotus extracts, bamboo sap, and fruit water that keep the skin hydrated, and help recharge it overnight.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best time to apply moisturizer is when your skin is damp, as this can help lock in the hydration from your moisturizer. So, use your moisturizer before your face has dried post-cleansing. 

In the morning, moisturizing should be the last step in your skincare routine before you move onto makeup. 

Humidifiers to aid moisturization

Winter in Korea is cold and dry. To combat the dry atmosphere, Korean women use humidifiers to hydrate the skin. 

If you don't have a humidifier, drench towels in water and hang them to dry in your bedroom. They release moisture into the air, keeping the skin hydrated at night.

9. Apply SPF

These beautiful women always wear sunblock when they step out for the day. Sunscreen protects against UV rays to prevent wrinkles, aging, and blemishes.

10. The Skin Diet

Koreans believe that “you are what you eat.” Their diet is nutritious and rich in vitamins.

One of their most famous dishes is kimchi. It's a spicy fermented cabbage prepared with pepper, garlic, ginger, and scallion. It's packed with antioxidants and probiotics and loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene — all these boost skin health.

They also eat makgeolli regularly. Makgeolli is a fermented rice wine rich in minerals and amino acids. It helps to brighten the skin and maintain elasticity.

Nutty-flavored roasted barley tea is famous in Korea. It's packed with antioxidants.

Read more: All The Benefits That Coffee Brings To Your Skin

Recap - Korean Skin Care regime

Adding some of these steps to your skincare routine will show visible results, and help you will feel confident and flawless.

The essential steps in the routine are proper diet, moisturization, and maintaining a natural pH balance. Start with a cleanse. Experiment with the rest to see what works.  

Now that you understand the routine, try to adopt the lifestyle changes below. These changes will improve your skin too, making the most of your new skincare knowledge. 

Positive Lifestyle Changes for Glowing Skin 

flawless skin

From the tight skin on your elbows and knees to the soft skin covering your hands - your body needs nourishment and tender care to get a naturally glowing skin.

These lifestyle changes will give your skin the best chance to be flawless and radiant. Try them in addition to your new Korean skincare routines.   

Don’t Skip Sunscreen.

Australian film director and screenwriter Baz Luhrmann nailed it. He said, “If I could offer one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it!”

Don’t skip sunscreen instead apply it liberally. You’ve read tons of magazine articles screaming the same line – wear sunscreen! Prevention is better than a cure for your skin because preventing damage is better than trying to reverse it.

Exposure to the sun causes 90 percent of wrinkles on your skin. Plus the sun is a leading cause of skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays. Apply liberally. It's important. 

Keep Your Showers Short

Every woman needs a long, steamy hot shower. However, to maintain glowing skin, keep your showers short and the water cold. A long, steamy shower is a balm for your soul, but it strips your skin of layers of moisture.

Washing away the protective oils from your skin will cause it to dry. Keep the water fresh to lukewarm and try to limit your shower to less than 10 minutes.

Quench Your Skin’s Thirst

You drink water when you are thirsty. Similarly, it is vital to give dry skin moisture. Scratch a small patch on your arm or leg to see if your skin needs help. If your nail leaves a white mark, it is time to exfoliate and moisturize.

Exfoliating removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells. Moisturizing nourishes those remaining. Try to exfoliate at least once a week.

Use any super-fine grain exfoliators to scrub dead skin cells. For a DIY solution, make a scrub with some fine grain sugar and honey and rinse off with lukewarm water. 

Keep Hydrated

Your skin needs you to stay hydrated. Made from water, like every other organ in your body, it needs it to function and look it's best.

Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of plain water every day. These quantities will flush out toxins and make sure your skin gets enough moisture from within. 

Try herbal tea, green tea, or other beverages without caffeine or sugar if you are bored with plain water. Or keep your body in tip-top shape with lemon water. But keep in mind that quality plain water has no real substitute.

Eat Well to Look Good

The food you eat has a direct impact on the quality of your skin. Improve your diet, and you'll improve your skin. Try these diet adjustments for improved skin and overall health. 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and walnuts and are great for your skin. Add these to your diet naturally. Or take in the form of capsules after consulting your physician first.
  • Add servings of citrus fruits and strawberries to your diet. These provide a good dose of Vitamin C.  A pre-requisite for glowing and radiant skin.
  • Fiber-rich foods like fresh vegetables, spinach, unprocessed fruits, and nuts help create a happy gastrointestinal routine. A routine like this helps bright and glowing skin.
  • Did you know that eating tomatoes protect your skin in the sun? These vegetables contain substantial amounts of lycopene, a substance that offers 25 percent more protection against sunburns. It helps create more collagen, which prevents skin sagging, and increases the levels of antioxidants in your skin. So you end up with fewer wrinkles, fine lines, and furrows.
  • Consuming a handful of almonds every day boosts the levels of Vitamin E in your body. Almonds offer antioxidant benefits and increase the amount of moisture in the skin naturally.
  • A half a cup of dark chocolate cocoa increases the circulation in the body — improved circulation results in smoother, supple, and hydrated skin.
  • Cut down on your sugar and salt consumption. Keep sugar you consume below 45g per day. Too much salt in your diet will make your face and body look bloated. So it is best avoided (particularly on date night).

Use Your Loofah Daily

In the shower, rub a loofah gently over patches of scaly skin to get rid of dead skin cells and ingrown hairs.

Sprinkle an alpha-hydroxy product (AHA) on your loofah for the perfect way to get smooth, glowing skin.

Invest in Room-Darkening Blinds

Get your “beauty sleep” every night. Sleep is critical for the good health of your skin because your skin cells regenerate and repair when you sleep.

Ambient light is a deep-sleep killer. Invest in room-darkening blinds or drapes to keep ambient light out.

Don't forget that your skin needs adequate sleep to regenerate and renew itself. 

You Need to Sweat

Sweating is a natural way to eliminate toxins from your skin. Any form of exercise will help. Get on your bike, step out for a run, do some gardening, go to the gym.

Put exercise into your morning routine because the post-workout glow is real! Spend the day showing off your healthy and glowing skin.

Choose a Proper Skin Care Cream 

Choose a moisturizer that has skin-repairing humectants. A humectant attracts moisture, improves skin hydration, and removes old skin cells. The right skin products contain humectants, glycerin, urea, propylene glycol, and alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs.

Apples, citrus fruits, grapes, yogurt, and buttermilk contain AHA compounds. They make skin look younger by getting rid of old skin cells.

We've added in the section below on how to choose the best skincare cream. 

How to Choose the Best Skin Care Cream

skin care cream

Let’s discuss skin creams and how to choose the perfect one for your skin type. Remember, flawless skin is the foundation of a sexy look.

Read More - 5 Deadly Toxins That You Must Avoid in Your Skin Care

Choose skincare cream carefully

Your face and body need nourishment to stay supple and healthy, and the right skin cream can make a difference.

Different parts of your skin need different solutions. So choose creams to suit the area you need to treat — for your face, for your body and lotions for your eyes. 

Choosing an age-appropriate product is vital to ensure the cream matches your skin's age.

Check the ingredients

Skincare products contain a variety of ingredients listed on the side of the jar or bottle. 

Common ingredients like alpha hydroxy-acids, petrolatum, retinoid, lanolin, peptides, and glycerin are right. If you have sensitive skin prone to allergies, glycerin is more suitable than lanolin.

Another factor to consider is whether the cream contains sunscreen. A quick read of the list of ingredients will tell you that. Sunscreen is essential for day creams. 

Zinc oxide and avobenzone are active sunscreen ingredients. Products with sunscreen prevent skin damage and protect against skin cancer. Dermatologists recommend going for daytime creams with an SPF of at least 15.

If the skincare product contains fragrance, put it right back on the shelf. Aromas are conventional sources of skin irritation and allergies. If there is nothing on the ingredient list, check if you can smell any scent instead. 

Identify your skin type.

Pick the right cream for your skin type. 

Oily skin

If your skin feels oily to the touch, you have overactive oil (sebum) glands and could be prone to acne. This type of skin traps dirt because of its greasy surface. You may feel like you have more acne outbreaks than your friends.

Cream with large moisturizing properties will make oily skin worse. Pick one that is rich in hyaluronic acid and gentle in hydration.

Products with glycolic acid will control moisture. They give a matte-like effect to your skin, making it feel dryer.  

Dry skin

Cream with high oil content helps dry skin because it is better absorbed.

Look for products that list ceramides and lanolin among the top ingredients. Choose creams that have hydrating elements like milk or lactic acid, aloe, and berry extracts.

Keep your face hydrated at all times. Be sure to use sunscreen whenever you step out. Quit smoking and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stop battling dry skin. 

Combination skin

This skin has an oily T-zone (forehead to the nose) and is dry or normal in other parts, like your cheeks.

Try light moisturizers that contain SPF of 15 for a single cream solution. Or target the different skin areas with various creams.

Skin creams with berry extracts, lactic acid, and tea tree oil work on the dry areas. For the oily areas, choose lotions with aloe and glycolic acid. Stay away from heavy creams, instead pick creams or gels that are light in density.

Normal skin

Healthy skin has the right levels of lipids, water, and the correct pH balance. Use a cream that maintains this balance and protects your skin. These have ingredients like milk, aloe, orange, and glycolic acid.

Sensitive skin

Women with sensitive skin struggle to maintain skin health with the right cream. No one-size-fits-all approach exists for this skin type. 

If your skin is on the oilier side or prone to acne outbreaks, choose a cream or gel that is high in glycolic acid and tea tree oil. If your skin is dryer, try products with a hydrating base like milk or aloe.

How to Apply Skin Cream

How you moisturize and pamper your skin affects how radiant your skin will be.

Moisturize with the right creams. A day cream that contains sunscreen will hydrate and protect from harmful UV rays. A good night cream will repair your skin when you sleep.

It is vital that you apply skin cream to the freshly clean skin. Make sure you remove every trace of makeup and dirt with a good cleanser first. 

Use your fingertips to trace long strokes from your neck to face to absorb the cream. This regular moisturizing routine will leave your skin fresh and soft.

Leading Skincare Brands

So many different brands and products make it stressful choosing skincare creams today. Our advice is to go for products from reputed brands. These will lower the chances of allergies.

Olay. This brand has a range of anti-aging creams, cleansers, moisturizers, and fairness creams. Olay has a long history and a proven track record and is best known for products that maintain youthful-looking skin.

Neutrogena. Neutrogena is a younger brand selling products for various skin types. The Hydro Boost Water Gel is high in hyaluronic acid and works wonders on dry skin.

Chanel. Famous for perfumes, has an impressive skincare line. Our vote goes to La Solution 10 de Chanel. It's a gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin and pollution-related skin issues.

Remember that the most expensive is not always the best. Spend time to understand what you need. Read reviews so that you choose the right skincare products for you.

If confused, an excellent first step to flawless skin is to speak to a dermatologist. They will help assess your skin and choose the right products.

Read MoreHow To Practice Self Care - The Affordable Basics

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glowing skin

In this article, we considered how best to look after your skin. 

We looked at the Korean women beauty regime in detail. We added steps to positive lifestyle changes that complement the process. We covered how to choose the best skincare cream for your skin type and needs.

The key to glowing skin lies in good health and beauty habits. Nothing works to boost your confidence better than radiant and flawless skin. Use all these simple tips to maintain a look that is fresh and fabulous. 

The Kewl Shop

The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.

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Editor: Charles Fitzgerald

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